Top 16 closer look: Virtus Segafredo Bologna

Dec 29, 2020 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
Top 16 closer look: Virtus Segafredo Bologna

Everything is clicking for Virtus Segafredo Bologna. It was the first team to qualify for the Top 16 and the first to clinch first place in its regular-season group. That still wasn't enough, so the Italian powerhouse signed sharpshooter Marco Belinelli, who is a perfect fit to play alongside star playmaker Milos Teodosic.

Until now

Despite being in a tough regular season group, Virtus has been unstoppable. It opened the season with a 15-point win against Lietkabelis Panevezys and confirmed its power with two more quality victories, 85-79 at home against Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar and 66-82 on the road against MoraBanc Andorra. Virtus went on to defeat Lokomotiv Krasnodar 83-89 in Round 7 and rallied from an 18-point halftime deficit to down AS Monaco 68-74 at Stade Louis II in Round 9 in one of the most memorable comebacks this season.

Hot shot

Teodosic is not posting the same excellent numbers he had in the 2019-20 regular season, but he has been leading his team off the bench and is widely seen as Virtus's biggest threat due to his legendary passing skills and off-the-charts basketball IQ. Teo had his best games in arguably Virtus's toughest challenges until now, scoring 21 points, 6 assists and missing only two shots on the road against MoraBanc, and going for a career-high 29 points and 5 assists against Lokomotiv in Krasnodar. Teodosic remains the player to stop in this competition.

Sleeper

A member of a big basketball family, forward Amar Alibegovic is in his first season at this level and proving he belongs. Like Teodosic, Alibegovic comes off the bench and has already proved his value in important games, while thrilling fans with his powerful dunks. He had 16 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals for a PIR of 23 in a road win against MoraBanc. His athleticism is unquestioned, as he showed in Virtus's comeback win against Monaco with a wild one-handed alley-oop slam.

Did you know?

Virtus has become the 18th team in EuroCup history to finish the regular season undefeated. Only one of them won the competition; Khimki Moscow Region had a 6-0 regular-season record in the 2011-12 campaign and ended up lifting the trophy. The first team to get a 10-0 regular season record was Besiktas Istanbul in the 2007-08 season, in which it reached the quarterfinals. Four other teams - Bilbao Basket in 2013, UNICS Kazan in 2015, Herbalife Gran Canaria in 2015 and Lokomotiv in 2018 - had perfect regular-season records, but lost in the EuroCup Finals. Virtus is now trying to break that pattern.

Outlook

Virtus is one of the few teams in the competition built with just one goal in mind: lifting the EuroCup trophy at the end of the season. Winning the EuroCup would earn Virtus a spot in the 2021-22 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and the black-and-white powerhouse must be focused at all times, as the Top 16 determines home-court advantage in the playoffs. Not slowing down even in blowout games is really important and Virtus has enough experienced players and technical staff to be completely aware of that.